New Jersey Supreme Court convicts a Pennsylvania man in fatal drunk driving collision
TRENTON – The sentence of a Pennsylvania man who was driving under the influence and caused an accident in 2009, in which a driver of another vehicle died and his 2 passengers were seriously injured, is reconsidered by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The New Jersey Supreme Court noted the judge didn’t properly consider the injuries of the victims when he sentenced John Lawless Jr. for the 2009 accident that happened in Lower Township.
On 12th September 2009, Fredrick Shelton was driving on Route 9 in Lower Township when the vehicle of a repeat DUI offender collided with his vehicle. Shelton died in the accident, whereas his daughter and wife suffered serious injuries. When the accident occurred, the BAC level of Lawless was recorded at 0.229 percent, much higher than the legal allowed BAC limit if 0.08 percent.
Lawless pleaded no contest to the aggravated manslaughter and driving under the influence charges. He was sentenced to thirty years in state prison for the conviction.
The Supreme Court judge considered Shelton’s wife and daughter as victims for sentencing purposes, but an appeals court held that designation could only apply to Shelton since the guilty plea concerned his death. The Supreme Court agreed, but said that the injuries Shelton’s wife and daughter suffered could be considered as a different aggravating factor at resentencing.